The Thousand Islands are a group of natural, modified, and spoil islands in the Banana River Lagoon, Cocoa Beach, in Brevard County, Florida. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s the islands were reshaped by development and efforts to control mosquitoes as the population of Brevard grew during the initial period of the space program at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center.
The State of Florida bought the Thousand Islands in 1988. It leased them back to the City of Cocoa Beach in 1991, providing that the islands be used for recreation and conservational efforts. The total price was $3,230,950. The city contributed $1,615,475, Brevard County contributed $700,000, and the State of Florida contributed $915,475.
Sediment cores reveal that the Thousand Islands were formed when a storm-driven sea broke through the barrier island, leaving behind an approximately 900-acre (360 ha) flood tide delta deposit. The date of this event is unknown. Charts from the mid 19th century and older do not depict the Thousand Islands.[ citation needed ] However, this might be due to lack of detail. The Cocoa Beach area was surveyed in 1876-1877 and appears identical to the 1951 aerial photographs.
The stratigraphic characteristics of a flood tide delta deposit include the existence of a layer of plain sand (often containing terrestrial vegetation debris) sandwiched between sediments containing numerous small bivalve mollusc shells that are indicative of deposition in a normal lagoon environment.[ clarification needed ] This uneven sand layer lacking shells suggests an interruption in the normal accretion of benthic sediments by a rapid deposition of dune material being washed in by severe wave action.
There are about 100 islands in the Thousand Islands,The actual number of islands is meaningless due to the inundation of many areas during seasonal high water during summer. The relatively low topography and rising water levels can turn one island into many as rains begin.
The Thousand Islands are divided roughly in half by the Minutemen Causeway. The formation comprises approximately 900 acres (360 ha) of salt marsh, mangroves, spoil sites containing upland vegetation, and maritime hammocks on shell middens. Beginning in the late 1950s, small ditches were dug through the islands to allow water movement and fish access to inner areas of the succulent marsh for mosquito control.
At approximately the same time, dredge and fill activities were begun in Cocoa Beach for housing development. Developers dredged canals and used the spoil to provide fill material for houses. Several areas of the Thousand Islands were filled but not fully developed, leaving large areas of uplands. During the late 1960s Brevard County Mosquito Control began dredging the Thousand Islands south of Minutemen Causeway, resulting in conversion of salt marsh to upland dredge spoil with the state-owned C-34 impoundment.
Native wetlands are dominated by red, black, and white mangroves. [ citation needed ]Succulent marsh contains saltwort, annual glasswort, perennial glasswort, sea blight, and shoreline seapurslane.
The transition zone between salt marsh and upland is dominated by bushy seaside oxeye ( Borrichia frutescens (L.) DC.) and buttonwood ( Conocarpus erectus L.). Transition areas dominated by graminoid vegetation contain saltgrass ( Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene) and seashore paspalum ( Paspalum vaginatum Sw.).
Uplands have been colonized by several native plant species, including Florida swamp privet ( Forestiera segregata (Jacq.) Krug & Urb.), salt bush ( Baccharis halimifolia L.), cabbage palm ( Sabal palmetto (Walter) Lodd. ex Shult. & Schult. f.), wax myrtle ( Myrica cerifera L.), and strangler fig ( Ficus aurea Nutt.).
Principal invasive non-native plants include Brazilian pepper ( Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi), Australian pines ( Casuarina equisetifolia L., Casuarina glauca Sieber ex Spreng.), and carrotwood ( Cupaniopsis anacardioides (A. Rich.) Radlk.). All are Category I invasives, "...altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions..."
Pre-Columbian shell middens are present in four main areas of the Thousand Islands.[ citation needed ]
The state of Florida and Cocoa Beach purchased the islands north of Minutemen Causeway in 1988. Acquisition of the remaining south islands was completed by 2007. These islands are managed as the Thousand Islands Conservation Area by Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. Efforts to acquire the remaining privately held islands began in 2006 with acquisition of the Reynolds tract, and were completed in 2007 with acquisition of the Crawford Homes tract by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL).
Restoration efforts involve removal of Brazilian pepper and Australian pine. Despite the Category I status of Australian pine, [ citation needed ] The management plan for the north Thousand Islands is currently (April 2013) under revision.removal of trees in ecological restoration can be controversial among the lay public. In the EEL-managed Thousand Islands Conservation Area, replanting has been used following removal of Australian pine, but the effects are modest, with native recruitment out-pacing planted species.
Brevard County is a county located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 census, the population was 606,612, making it the 10th-most populated county in Florida. The official county seat is located in Titusville. Brevard County comprises the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located along the east Florida coast and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
Cocoa Beach is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The population was 11,539 at the 2018 United States Census. It is part of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Merritt Island is a peninsula, commonly referred to as an island, in Brevard County, Florida, United States, located on the eastern Floridian coast, along the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the name of an unincorporated town in the central and southern parts of the island and a census-designated place (CDP).
Satellite Beach is a coastal city in Brevard County, Florida, U.S. The population was 11,346 at the 2020 United States Census, and it is located with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Indian River to the west.
Sanibel is an island and city in Lee County, Florida, United States. The population was 6,382 at the 2020 census. It is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The island, also known as Sanibel Island, constitutes the entire city. It is a barrier island—a collection of sand on the leeward side of the more solid coral-rock of Pine Island.
Long Island Sound is a marine sound and tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. It lies predominantly between the U.S. state of Connecticut to the north and Long Island in New York to the south. From west to east, the sound stretches 110 mi (180 km) from the East River in New York City, along the North Shore of Long Island, to Block Island Sound. A mix of freshwater from tributaries and saltwater from the ocean, Long Island Sound is 21 mi (34 km) at its widest point and varies in depth from 65 to 230 feet.
The Space Coast is a region in the U.S. state of Florida around the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It is one of several "themed" coasts around Florida. All orbital launches from American soil carrying NASA astronauts have departed from either KSC or Cape Canaveral. The Space Force Station has also launched unmanned military and civilian rockets. Cities in the area include Port St. John, Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island (unincorporated), Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic, Melbourne Beach, Palm Bay, and Viera (unincorporated). Most of the area lies within Brevard County. It is bounded on the south by the Treasure Coast, on the west and north by Central Florida, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Biscayne Bay is a lagoon with characteristics of an estuary located on the Atlantic coast of South Florida. The northern end of the lagoon is surrounded by the densely developed heart of the Miami metropolitan area while the southern end is largely undeveloped with a large portion of the lagoon included in Biscayne National Park.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 140,000 acres (57,000 ha) U.S. National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on the Atlantic coast of Florida's largest barrier island. NASA's Kennedy Space Center and visitor complex are also situated on the island and NASA can restrict access to the refuge based on its operational needs.
Plum Island is a barrier island located off the northeast coast of Massachusetts, north of Cape Ann, in the United States. It is approximately 11 miles (18 km) in length. The island is named for the wild beach plum shrubs that grow on its dunes, but is also famous for the purple sands at high tide, which get their color from tiny crystals of pink pyrope garnet. It is located in parts of four municipalities in Essex County. From north to south they are the city of Newburyport, and the towns of Newbury, Rowley, and Ipswich.
The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (LSNWR) is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located in southeastern Dixie and northwestern Levy counties on the western coast of Florida, approximately fifty miles southwest of the city of Gainesville.
The Melbourne Causeway is located entirely within Brevard County, Florida in the United States. It is composed of three bridges and connects the municipalities of Melbourne and Indialantic across the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County. The causeway is part of U.S. 192, whose eastern terminus is located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the bridge, at SR A1A. East of the bridge, the road is known locally as Fifth Avenue. On the western side, the road continues through downtown Melbourne as Strawbridge Avenue. Each July 4 the bridge is closed for a fireworks show.
The Merritt Island Causeway, mostly in Merritt Island, connects Cocoa, Merritt Island, Florida, and Cocoa Beach, Florida. The causeway transits the Willard Peebles bridge over the Banana River Lagoon. In the 1960s, SR A1A was routed over the eastern causeway from present day SR 520 and SR A1A, to the present day intersection of SR 520 and SR 3 on Merritt Island. The eastern section is known as the Cocoa Beach Causeway.
The Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge encompassing 965 acres (3.91 km2) located in the California coastal community of Seal Beach. Although it is located in Orange County it is included as part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It was established in 1972.
Environmental issues in Brevard County in Florida United States are highlighted by the amount of waterline, the amount of wetlands, the quantity of residents and visitors to the area, as well as the usual threat to air quality from commuters. Assisting in this is the Florida Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition which is headquartered in Brevard.
Joseph Horatio Wickham (1911-2000) was a prominent Brevard County, Florida politician serving on the County Commission from 1952 to 1964 and from 1972 to 1984. Wickham's most notable achievements were securing rights of way for many of the county's current roadways, and establishing a permanent mosquito control program. One of these roads is Wickham Road.
Low marsh is a tidal marsh zone located below the Mean Highwater Mark (MHM). Based on elevation, frequency of submersion, soil characteristics, vegetation, microbial community, and other metrics, salt marshes can be divided to into three distinct areas: low marsh, middle marsh/high marsh, and the upland zone. Low marsh is characterized as being flooded daily with each high tide, while remaining exposed during low tides.
The History of Brevard County can be traced to the prehistory of native cultures living in the area from pre-Columbian times to the present age. Brevard County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida, along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The geographic boundaries of the county have changed significantly since its founding. The county is named for Judge Theodore W. Brevard, an early settler, and state comptroller, and was originally named St. Lucie County until 1855. The official county seat has been located in Titusville since 1894, although most of the county's administration is performed from Viera.
Environmentally Endangered Lands abbreviated as EEL is a land conservation program in Brevard County, Florida. Established in 1990, the program is funded by voter approved tax dollars. It is intended to conserve natural habitats and environmentally sensitive lands for "conservation, passive recreation, and environmental education". In 2004 a second referendum for land via a willing seller program was also passed. The program leverages its funding with partners from federal, state and local agencies. The lands are then "managed to preserve native habitats and the plants and animals that live there."
The C-34 Mosquito Impoundment Project was a collaboration in the Thousand Islands during the 1970s between Brevard County Mosquito Control, The Florida Medical Entomological Laboratory, and NASA. This project was conducted to test the ability of remote sensing to detect flooding stress in mangroves during flooding for mosquito control.
Plant nomenclature follows Wunderlin, R. P. & B. F. Hansen. (2011). Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida, 3rd Edition. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.